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GRPS considering moving City into Creston

12:22 AM, Nov 9, 2012   |    comments
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City High Middle School

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - It's been almost two weeks since Grand Rapids Public Schools released its proposal to close ten schools, and much of the focus has been on Creston High School.  Now, we're learning more about what's likely to happen with Creston if it does close.

At a meeting for parents Thursday night, GRPS Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal spoke about closing Creston, as well as other parts of her transformation plan.

Under a new scenario the school board is considering, the City High-Middle School campus would close, and the district would move city's 690 students into the Creston building.

City High-Middle School is what Grand Rapids Public Schools calls the region's top academic high school, and it is overflowing with talent -- literally.

"It is currently packed full," says GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt.

Nearly 700 students in grades six through 12 attend the school. Neal says a very viable option is to close the building, and move the school into Creston, which currently has room for 1,400 students.

"It allows students to have more room. They can do labs, they can do other things they might not have at their other building," says the superintendent.

Those other things include sports, which is high on the priority list for some City students.

"We get a pool, and sports teams probably," says Kobe Brown, a City High Middle School freshman.

"For the most part, everyone's excited to possibly move buildings," says sophomore Emily Smith.

But for the school to be sustainable, the City High Middle School program would have to grow.

"We would look at increasing the number of students at City," says Neal.

In one option, Creston and City students would not be on the same campus. Creston students would be moved to other schools or would have to apply for the program to stay at the campus, just like everyone else in the county.

Money the district saves from closing Creston would be pumped into accepting more high caliber students.

"We've heard loud and clear from City High Middle parents that they believe we need to maintain the integrity of that program, which has that academic rigor," says Helmholdt.

"I think it's good for the students here at City. Bigger facility obviously and I know a lot transfer there for sports," says Darcy Flowers, a City mom.

"I think eventually it would be just a whole bunch of kids coming together," said Brown.

Helmholdt says another option the school board is considering is to keep Creston High School open, but with only 300 to 400 students.  GRPS would also operate City High Middle School in the Creston building. The big question is how to administer two schools in one.

Superintendent Neal will present her final recommendation to the school board on November 19.

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